The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) wants the government to release more information on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) admission that it dumped waste in Bahamian waters, a press statement from the group stated, adding that The Bahamas must make sure cruise lines get the message that “poor practices that damage our environment cannot be tolerated”.
This week it was revealed that NCL voluntarily reported its actions to the Bahamas Maritime Authority.
The Nassau Guardian reported yesterday that Minister of Transport Renward Wells said from the floor of the House of Assembly that his ministry “is in close contact with the attorney general’s office and with the Ministry of the Environment” as it relates to NCL’s environmental infraction.
BNT Executive Director Eric Carey said in the statement yesterday that the BNT is determined to ensure that the
environment of The Bahamas is protected.
“It is unacceptable to carry out dumping in our waters and that message needs to be hammered home,” Carey said.
“There is a saying that ‘what you allow is what will continue’. If we allow one incident, we can only expect such cases to continue. We must draw a line and make clear that things must change. At the BNT, we remain committed to our goal of holding those who commit such offenses accountable.
“We will continue to speak out against any and all who seek to damage the Bahamian environment, no matter who they are. However, it is not our practice to target some companies while ignoring the misdeeds of others and we agree that it is not fair to do that.”
The Bahamas recently passed laws that will allow this country to fine cruise lines that carry out dumping within its maritime borders.
“New laws have just been introduced to help to clamp down on environmental offenses and just as all are equal in the eyes of the court, so too do we regard all equally who might have broken those laws,” Carey said.
“Offenders should be held to account and the laws will hopefully discourage others from following suit. In fact, we want to work with companies to help them establish the best practices to ensure they never fall foul of the law in the first place. It is always better to do things right the first time, rather than to pay a penalty and have to clean up the damage afterwards. Helping people to find that right way of doing things is part of what we do at the BNT.”
Carnival Cruise Line recently made headlines when it was found guilty of dumping inside and outside of Bahamian waters and fined for the action.
The BNT’s statement said Carnival has since tried to foster a relationship with the BNT as it develops a cruise port on a part of Grand Bahama.
“Carnival Cruise Line was involved in a recent case of dumping and prior to that, Carnival reached out to the BNT to update the organization on its Grand Bahama port project and to express an interest in partnering,” the statement pointed out.
“The BNT agreed to meet with Carnival and keep an open dialogue with them while it awaited the results of the port project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA). However, the BNT has not yet received a copy of the EIA.”